!BEFORE YOU READ!

A/N: This story is fantasy based and is quite long, my sincere apologies on that. Not many enjoy fantasy so that's why I have posted this small warning.

DESCRIPTION: Everguard is a city in which is ruled under a great worthy king. The king's son, Tezuka. who is to be named king soon eventually falls for a merchant named Fuji.

Word Count: 9,684

Rating: T

Enjoy.

Everguard.

A city known to all of Gether. A land ruled by a king worthy of its vast open space, its neighboring cities, its produce, its merchants and of course its people. Many were proud to live amongst such loyal and forgiving king. But like many great cities, in Everguard there were the wealthy, the nobles, the merchants, the peasants and then there were the people who lived in the slums.

Everguard was a city held by great massive walls of stone to keep out unwanted dangers and from wandering threats or worse, invasion. Guards stood outside the gates occasionally changing shifts with other guards. Watch guards stood in watch towers and made sure of any oncoming problems and kept the city out trouble as well.

The king had made a promising donation to those who came from far or decided to open up an apothecary, an inn or a weapons shop. The king would grant these hard working men with a house's outside the main streets and assure them that they would be making a living in Everguard.

He had tried to fix the slums once but he ended that when the local slum gangs began causing trouble and calling his men worthless scums. Many of those who lived in the slums which was by a river that ran through Everguard, believed that the king was a worthless man who didn't care at all. They believed that if the king had cared about those that lived in poverty, those that fought to survive every day, that he would grant them a home, grant them real shelter instead of being holed up underneath the city living by the city's sewage.

The king didn't want to believe it when he happened hear a kid who was merely 8 years old say that his guards would laugh at them and treat them like vermin. He demanded a name at the time but the mother of the youngling only took him away, fear covering her dirty face. It broke his heart to know that kids were born into the slums and he vowed to end it as soon as he could.

He had a beautiful wife with lustrous blonde hair and eyes the color of the sea, lips plump and perfectly red without any make up. She was his gem and she held his heart.

He also had a son. A son born and ready for the throne to be king but his wife had disagreed that he was far too young. He shook his head.

"Nonsense. He is at the right age to serve this fine land." He had said at dinner one cool night, the guards standing outside the door and their servant standing right beside him. "Nonetheless this city." He finished.

His wife, Ayana shook her head a again in disapproval. "What if we undergo an attack from Venshard?" She whispered looking at her son who didn't seem to care much about the conversation.

The king scratched the back of his head and sighed. "Actually, I've mean to you something, Ayana." She looked at him in silence and he knew she was waiting for his response. "I've been sent an invitation to Venshard for a noble meeting with Talem." He resumed to look at his food and began eating. He waited silently for the yelling to start.

Ayana looked at him wide eyed and then pushed her plate away. "Mitsu dear," She said in such a gentle voice. She looked at her son with loving eyes and he stood up. "If you could just excuse us?"

"Don't worry, mom." He said walking towards the big burgundy doors. He knocked twice and the guards opened the door for him. "I've made a promise with Tanis to walk with him through the merchant district." He turned to look back at his mother and father.

Ayana smiled and nodded. "Okay dear. Just be careful." He nodded and left leaving his parents. He knew they were going to start yelling and fighting but it didn't matter, it was proof that they cared for one another.

He looked at the guard to his right, the one who had opened the door for him. He was taller than him and far more muscular than the guard which didn't dawn him at all. "Klaus."

"Sir." The guard, Klaus, greeted him.

"Before I head out, let's spar." Klaus' lips curved up into a wide smile and motioned the other guard to cover for him.

The other just nodded and Klaus began walking with Prince Tezuka. "I mean of no disrespect sir, but I will have my victory today." He said removing his chainmail and grabbing a wooden stick imitating a sword, handing it to Tezuka. The stick may look like nothing but when you made contact with it you were bound to be marked with a ton of bruises for weeks.

"I have no intention of losing, Klaus." Tezuka said running his hands through his brown hair and removing his silver rimmed glasses. He was trained to not use them in battle. Not because they were a nuisance but because they showed a warrior's vulnerability and a warrior couldn't a afford vulnerability in the heat of battle. "Just make sure you don't attack me with magic like the last time, perhaps this time my father will kill you." He said mockingly.

Klaus' face turned red in embarrassment and got into his fighting stance, the sword in his right and his shield on his left. He wasn't going to let a kid of 16 mock him. He charged at him and swung.

"Thank you for coming by." The light haired boy said as he carried a few wooden shields. Once the guard had left, he sighed and placed them by the wall. He was tired. There were rumors amongst the guards of Everguard that Venshard had sent men to start war with them. Since the rumors had begun he braced himself for the waves and waves of never ending guards, coming in to buy all sorts of weapons. From Bows, to Stilettos, to Shields, to Maces, to Swords. Some even came in to trade and compare their weapons and since there were so many people he had asked his brother to help him out.

Yuuta slumped over the counter, his face dirty from sharpening their stock for the best results and carrying dirty weapons to and from the back room. He sighed loudly and obnoxiously as he rested his boggled and cramped head on the counter. "At least we have earned a fortune in Gold today." He muttered.

His brother nodded and threw himself into a chair by the counter. "It's what happens when we have the best weaponry in all of Everguard." He sighed out wiping his forehead of sweat. "Sure peddlers and travelers have the rarest of items but when we do business with peddlers and travelers from all over Gether, of course our stock becomes wonderfully well known." He explained.

"Maybe you should stop doing business with peddlers and whoever." Yuuta sighed breathlessly. "I was supposed to go out tonight with Marissa too." Yuuta groaned as he lifted his head. "This is all your fault Fuji!" He yelled at his brother who only smiled back.

"Hm, you're dating the apothecary girl huh? Boy merchants these days, I swear, always going out with one another." Fuji said smiling.

Yuuta looked away hiding a blush. "W-well, she's pretty and she helped me the last time I brawled that big guy in The Tut." Fuji began laughing.

"Your knight in shining armor huh?" Fuji teased. Yuuta tried to charge at him but tripped over his own brother's foot. "Really? How many times you gonna fall for that?" So much for his fighting spirit. Since Yuuta had grown a fair amount of muscles working at the shop, he would always go down to The Hut, a place where a lot of kids gambled on who was the best fighter. Mostly all merchants and a few nobles who came for a good time.

Yuuta got up and raised his fists in air. "Let's go bro. You wanna brawl? I'll show you how strong I am." He said defensively.

Fuji sighed and grabbed a wooden stick common for training. "You're loss." He said smiling.

Before Yuuta had begun swinging and Fuji began dodging, the door opened. "Uhm, Yuuta. Are you ready?" A girl's voice drifted into the store. Yuuta turned around and lowered his hands to his side.

"M-Marissa!" He stuttered. Fuji eyed the girl in the doorway. She was indeed pretty. She had long black hair that tempted to be touched; her skin was fair and had big brown eyes. For a girl born into the merchant district, she didn't seem fat like the other female merchants. She had a pretty petite body. She seemed too innocent compared to his younger brother who had muscular arms and a muscular chest, a cut on his forehead due to a fight down by The Hut and a mean look on his face. Yet, Fuji couldn't help but find his brother a big oversized guy with a lot of stored emotions and it seemed this girl had won his little brother's heart. Fuji smirked and smacked Yuuta on the back his head. "Ow!" He yelled holding his head.

"You're making the poor girl wait!" Yuuta blushed and rubbed his face with the apron that was around his waist and threw it at his brother. Fuji scowled at him.

"See you later!" He yelled out as he left their shop. Fuji sighed and then smiled. He only hoped his stupid brother got what he was looking for.

Fuji began fixing the shields on the wall and the swords. He looked back at the entrance of his store and then walked over to the back where the Longbows and Shortbows were on display. His fingers ran over the big black Longbow that hung on display. He wanted to hold it so badly. He wanted to claim it his own so very much. He took it off the rack and stared at the wonderfully done black wooden Longbow was done. One would mistake it for blackened copper but the wood was polished to perfection and tinted with black to make the Bow stronger, supposedly some type of magic that alternated the bow's range and strength. He wrapped his fingers around the grip handle and pulled the string back as if holding an arrow.

He let his fingers go and smiled then frowned. The Longbow cost too much. Almost 50,000 Gold, he didn't have that kind of money. He placed it back on the rack and ran his fingers down the belly of it. It was so beautiful.

He heard the door open and he quickly went to greet his customer.

"Welcome to Fuji's Armory shop." He said politely with a smile. The men that walked in were taller than him but that was common. He was surprisingly short for a guy and many mistook him for a woman because he had fair skin that hadn't been scarred, he had eyes the color of the sky and his hair was light brown that came down almost to shoulder length.

The two guys looked at him wondering whether to work their charm on the young looking girl or just nod at the guy in charge of the store. Fuji only smiled back knowing they were confused but rolled his eyes. Would a girl be wearing a blue tunic with black trousers and an ebon neck wrap that came over his shoulder?

One of the guys smiled and Fuji saw that he was missing a few teeth. "Hey there cutie." The guy said in a hoarse voice. He was really big guy with oiled black hair smoothed back, tanned skin and pretty fat. He guessed he worked out by the docks because most of them out there had his body weight. The other only looked at him up and down as if he was fresh meat but instantly looked away embarrassed.

"Can I help you guys with anything?" Fuji asked a little irritated, ignoring the looks he was getting.

"I came here to find a good sword but I think I've got my eyes set on something else." The big guy said while smiling and moving towards him. 'Seriously?' he thought as he tried to step over to the counter where he had a dagger.

The other placed a hand on the Big Guy and shook his head, "C'mon, you're wife's gonna kill ya." The Big Guy shook him off and scowled at him.

"Tch, She'll never know. Man, Amalar, you're a real letdown!" The Big Guy said and looked back at Fuji. "Besides, we should have some fun every once in a while." The Big Guy cornered Fuji before he could grab the dagger and grabbed his wrists. Fuji struggled.

"I'm a guy." He said between gritted teeth. It was no use struggling, this guy was going to get his way or another. He was too big for him to fend for himself. Not like he didn't know how but man he lifted him off the floor like he was nothing. The Big Guy kept his wrists in place and grasped them tightly.

The Big Guy pinned Fuji's hands over his head. "It's still going in somewhere." He said laughing hoarsely. "Watch the front Amalar." He shouted to the other.

Amalar sighed and nodded, "You owe me, Ray." The Big Guy now known as Ray only smiled excitedly and turned his attention back at Fuji. Fuji turned away and tried struggling again.

"No use cutie." Ray said running a free hand down his neck and down his tunic. He began lifting the tunic but stopped once he heard the door to the store open. "Damnit Amalar I said to-"

"Leave him alone." A voice cut Ray off. Fuji's eyes widened in shock and closed his eyes. He didn't want bloodshed in his shop, it was a pain and it made their shop look bad. The tip of a sword was pressed against Ray's neck and Ray only laughed.

"What're you gonna do boy?" Ray said turning around looking at the wielder. The sword pressed harder against his neck and Ray flinched.

"I'll slit your throat wide open." Hazel eyes piercing into Ray's dark brown eyes, fear pooling into Ray's.

"He was a squirmy one but I got him. Ah, Fuji." Fuji turned to look at the person who had just come in. It was an older teen with short light brown hair parting in the middle, his left cheek containing three claw marks that we now scars on his light skin and his light brown eyes smiling along with his lip. Fuji knew that voice and smile so well.

"Sir Tanis." Fuji said recognizing his dear friend. Tanis was holding Amalar with his arms behind back and a cloth around his mouth so he wouldn't yell. Fuji smiled and knew that he need not worry.

Tanis sighed, "Fuji how many times have I told you, just Tanis." Tanis said smiling his million dollar smile. For a noble he was so kind hearted and he wasn't very muscular either but he knew how to use a Bow and daggers. He was an amazing Archer and he was the one who had influenced Fuji into it. "This here is Tezuka." Tanis said motioning to the person who held the blade to Ray's neck. Fuji was sure he'd heard the name before but couldn't remember from where.

"You know him, Tanis?" Tezuka asked not breaking his eye contact with Ray.

Tanis smiled at Fuji completely ignoring the guy in his hands. "Of course. He's a very good friend of my father's. He owns this shop, the best armory shop in all of Everguard. I also got him infatuated with Archery isn't that right?" Tanis asked. Fuji smiled back regardless of his current position.

"That's right." He said.

Tezuka pressed the sword harder against Ray's neck. "Get out of here or get out of Everguard." He said seriously. Ray flinched again and let go of Fuji. "Take your friend with you." Tezuka said sheathing his sword. Ray looked at him and smirked lunging towards Tezuka.

"Here we go." Tanis let out. Tezuka turned and slipped behind Ray so fast; unsheathing his sword again he smacked the flat end on the side of Ray's head. Ray groaned and fell to the ground holding his head. Tanis grabbed Ray by his arm and helped him up. "Alright big guy, c'mon. Get out." He said pushing Amalar and Ray out.

Tezuka sheathed his sword again and looked at Fuji who fell to the ground once Ray let him go. "Are you alright? Can you stand?" He asked extending his hand out to Fuji. Fuji accepted the hand and nodded. He figured he was noble since he was with Tanis, another kind noble.

"Thank you, Sir Tezuka." Fuji said smiling. Tezuka smiled softly and nodded. Tezuka walked around the store and began looking in awe at all the things that it contained. Tanis had recommended it to him before but he'd never gone. It was truly a marvelous place. Weapons neatly organized by class, armor arranged by material and resistance, and even some cloaks he's never seen before.

Tanis walked over to Fuji and patted him lightly. "You okay there?" He asked smiling again. He was so sweet. Despite Tanis being a noble, he was quite short as well. He was only two or three inches taller than Fuji and for a guy that was Short. Fuji nodded. "That over there, you won't believe who he is." Tezuka turned around and gave him a glare. Tanis raised two hands up defensively and chuckled.

"He's ought to be a noble just like you." Fuji said. Tanis shook his head making his hair sway from side to side. He looked at Fuji and rubbed his thumb over his cheek, cleaning away dirt. Fuji blushed embarrassed and playfully punched Tanis in the shoulder.

Tanis chuckled and looked at Tezuka. "He's the king's son."

Tezuka turned to look at Tanis. "Tanis!" he only shrugged and laughed.

Tanis waved a hand at Tezuka. "Don't worry Tezuka, he's loyal and won't tell a soul isn't that right Fuji?" Tanis turned to look at Fuji who just stared at Tezuka. "Fuji?"

Fuji moved away from Tanis and stood in front of Tezuka. He placed a fist over his chest and got down on a knee. "Lord Tezuka. I apologize for not giving you my proper greeting. My name is Fuji Syuusuke. It is an honor to have finally met you. It is an honor to be within your presence, Lord Tezuka." Fuji said not looking up and showing his utmost respect for the young Lord. Tanis walked over to Fuji but Tezuka stopped him.

Tezuka placed a hand on Fuji's shoulder and Fuji looked up. "It's okay. You do not need to go through such great lengths, Fuji. Please, stand." Fuji did as he was told. He was in the presence of the king's son. He would soon take the throne and become king himself. "There is no need to be formal. I am merely a costumer in your wonderful shop. Please keep that in mind. Outside the castle of Everguard I am but a mere peasant." Fuji nodded. Tezuka smiled and patted Fuji once more before looking around again.

"Lord Tezuka… I mean Tezuka…To show you my gratitude I insist that you take whatever it is that pleases you. " Fuji said bowing a little. Tanis chuckled and simply watched how Fuji treated Tezuka. It was rather enjoyable and it bothered him as well.

Tezuka looked back at Fuji and then looked around the store. "Anything you say?" Tezuka said looking around. He wanted the whole store but that would be greedy of him. He looked around and chose a broadsword and then looked at another sword that was made out of black metal. One was heavier than the other, obviously the broadsword. Perhaps, he'd take the black metal one. "Which is more efficient?" Tezuka asked Fuji.

Fuji smiled at his interest in the Ravens sword. "The black one is called, Ravenspeak. It's strong and light for easy swinging. The black metal makes it easier to cut through your opponent and also very sturdy. The hilt is wrapped with an absorbent cloth-like material so your hands have the best of grip. I recommend it the most. The broadsword is big and heavy but very efficient. I mean of no disrespect, my Lord but assuming on your rank and your style, the broadsword is fit for a guard." Fuji said. Tezuka smiled.

"You know a lot, Fuji." Fuji nodded.

"I have been in the merchant business for quite some time, most of these weapons I have tested and have used except for a few." He explained glancing over at the Longbow.

Tanis laughed and patted Fuji. "Why don't you meet us later on tonight so that you can let all that pent up nerve off? Maybe you and Tezuka can spar too." Fuji looked between the both of them and shook his head.

"N-no, I can't. I'm simply a merchant; I'm not allowed to go through the Noble grounds. Plus, I don't want to impose on Lord Tezuka." Tanis sighed.

"Its fine, I too was wondering if you'd like to spar with me. Everyone at the castle is not of my rank. A change from my father's guardsmen would be nice. Besides, seems like the two of you would make a fair team as well. I'll make sure to greet you in to the Noble quarter" Fuji blushed embarrassed and nodded.

Fuji once again placed a fist over his chest and bowed. "With all that I am, I thank you. Lord Tezuka." Tezuka chuckled again and shook his head.

Tezuka looked around. "Is there a sheath for the Ravenspeak?" Tezuka questioned. Fuji straightened himself and walked to the door by the counter.

"It's in the back, I'll go get it." And he disappeared.

Tanis looked at Tezuka and Tezuka did the same. Both of them holding each other's eyes. Tanis withdrew his daggers and Tezuka pointed the Ravenspeak at Tanis. "You like him." Tezuka said in a flat tone.

"As do you. The way he praises you, son of Kuniharu, heir to the throne of Everguard, born heir to rule all of Gether." Tanis said smiling. "I've known him far longer Tezuka. For god's sake my father gave him this business."

Tezuka tilted his head to the side. "How?" He asked. Tanis chuckled.

"He was a slums boy and his father was my father's servant. When he found out he had children and a woman he gave them the best of shelter. I basically grew up with him. He was a loyal servant at the age of 8. Then my father asked the king to give them a house in merchant's district. My father gave them the money to start a business. Fuji began sparring with his little brother and began learning about everything about weapons and armor. I gave him this life and he's grateful to have me around." Tanis finished with a confident smile.

Tezuka inspected Tanis closely and tested him. He swung Ravenspeak so that he'd at least form a cut on his shoulder but Tanis hoped back and spun blocking with his dagger. Tezuka furrowed his eyebrows. He'd never spar with Tanis, he'd knew that he'd pull out his longbow and try to hit him with an arrow and he knew that Tanis wouldn't miss. Not only was he efficient with a longbow but he was fast and had a great amount of stamina which was good for wielding his daggers. This shop was far too little and far too snug to have an onslaught battle to settle the score.

Tanis spun distracting Tezuka and threw his dagger right at him. Tezuka dodged and lightly tapped it as it flew by with the sword, stumbling backwards he saw Tanis rushing toward him with the other dagger in his hand. Tezuka let himself fall and rolled back dropping a leather cap. Tanis plunged the dagger into the floorboard and grunted when he realized Tezuka had moved.

"You're not bad, My Lord." He mocked chuckling.

"So as yourself, Nobleman." Tezuka smiled. He was having fun for once. In the castle, he was rid of such excitement that's why he sparred with the royal guars every chance he got. He found it to be quite entertaining rather than picking up women and in this case, this fight had Fuji on the line. He didn't expect to like the guy but he was knowledgeable, very attractive for a guy and if Tanis wasn't lying about him sparring with his brother then he ought to be handy with sword or bow since Tanis had gotten him into it.

They both heard a click and they scrambled into fixing what was out of place.

Fuji came back with the sheath for Ravenspeak and walked over to Tezuka who was looking at the cloaks and capes. "Here you are, my Lord." Tezuka turned around and smiled grabbing the sheathe.

"This is a fine cape." He said running his hands over a navy blue cape that looked like it could come down to the middle of his back. Fuji nodded.

"It's very popular amongst outsiders. It's made out of fine cotton." Fuji said looking back at Tanis. Tanis sat in the chair by the counter with his arms crossed over his chest. Fuji frowned and then turned his attention back to Tezuka.

"I'll just take these two."

"I'm pleased to hear that." Fuji said with a wide smile. Tezuka turned to face Tanis and Tanis stood up. "Tanis, you don't want anything?" He asked concerned. He could tell something was bugging him, he had known him for far too long to not know the older teen's habits.

Tanis shook his head and then stopped. "Actually, do you happen to have any of those flat headed arrows?"

Fuji smiled. "I knew you'd ask." Fuji turned to where the Bows and arrows were and took out a package wrapped in thin beige paper. The carried them over to Tanis and handed them to him. "You don't know how hard it is to get them now that Venshard has stopped trading with local peddlers. I had to venture to Censhar to find them."

"Censhar bank?" Tezuka questioned.

Fuji nodded. "Yes." He noticed the worried look on the young lord and frowned, "Something the matter?"

"A friend of mine was ambushed not long ago on his way to Fort Shadow." He almost whispered.

Fuji's look saddened, "I'm sorry to hear that. If it wasn't for the damned river we wouldn't need to go through Censhar to get to Fort Shadow." Tezuka nodded in agreement and looked around trying to shake off his comrade's loss. He was of no need to show vulnerability.

Tanis patted him on the shoulder and smiled. "You still got me." His million dollar smile brightening the dull, musky room and it's depressing atmosphere. Tezuka stared at the nobleman and couldn't help but laugh. Surely this guy had a great way of easing anyone's pain with his smile and he was a man worthy of their city and land. He was worthy and greatly needed to his father's corps.

Tezuka nodded. "Well, Fuji I believe we'd best be on our way, my mother would be upset if I did not return." Fuji nodded and bowed once again. Tezuka laughed and Tanis motioned behind Fuji. Tezuka smiled. "You are coming tonight, to the noble quarters?" He asked Fuji.

Fuji's face once again turned red with embarrassment from the mere thought of being invited by the young Lord to spar with him. It was such an honor. "If it pleases you, sir." Fuji said with a smile.

Tezuka walked past Fuji over to where the longbows and shortbows were on display. He grabbed the black Longbow and Fuji felt his heart shattering. If he was taking that with him he wouldn't have the luxury to look at it anymore or secretly play with it. Tezuka handed it to him. Fuji looked at him perplexed. "I want you to have it." Fuji just looked at him, frozen with a loss of words. Tanis began laughing.

"You should see your face." Tanis said in between breaths. Fuji glared at Tanis and then looked back at Tezuka.

"I-I couldn't sir." He denied. Not because he didn't want it by gods all he did was dream of it but because he didn't think himself worthy of it. Tezuka looked at the Longbow again, inspecting it and then back at Fuji.

"Please." Tezuka said handing it to him again. "A gift for your kindness and a wonderful time. Besides, I'd like to see what Tanis created with those hands of yours." Tezuka said smiling. Fuji blushed. He hadn't noticed before but this young lord was handsome. A perfect nose, perfect thin lips, slightly tanned, his hair was a bit messy but somehow it suit him, his voice was young but confident surely someone who was ready to rule Gether and he was nonetheless kind for a Lord. Most noblemen or lords were cold, selfish and very self-centered but that's why he enjoyed Tanis' company because was the far opposite of all that. He was kind and gentle. And so was Tezuka.

Fuji grabbed the Longbow slightly brushing Tezuka's fingers. He smiled happily. "Thank you Lord Tezuka." Fuji said bowing once more.

Tezuka smiled and placed a hand on his shoulder. "Just like Tanis, just Tezuka." Tezuka said looking into Fuji's eyes. Fuji nodded. Tezuka nodded at Tanis and he nodded back.

"We're off Fuji. See you later at the Noble quarters, hopefully." Tanis said with a smile as he held the door open for Tezuka. Tezuka waved and left. Tanis looked back at Fuji, "Hopefully we can beat him together." Fuji chuckled at Tanis and Tanis waved before closing his door.

Fuji looked down at the Longbow he was clutching and smiled widely. He was so very excited.

Tezuka arrived with Tanis to the Castle of Everguard which was his home. A guard come up to them both, looking at Tanis and then at Tezuka. "Lord Tezuka." The guard began, placed a fist against his chest and slightly bowed, returning to his normal stance he looked at the lord again. "The king wishes to see you."

Tezuka nodded at the guard. "Thank you Iker." Tezuka turned to Tanis. "Iker why don't you lead Tanis to the guest hall."

The guard Iker looked at Tanis again and then Tezuka. "Sir." Tanis began walking with the guard and Tezuka headed off to find his father in his bedchamber.

He knocked twice on the big burgundy looking door, "Father?" He questioned. He heard a 'come in' and opened the door. Closing it behind him he walked over to his father who was overlooking the city on his balcony, something he enjoyed to do every time he was in a pensive mood.

Tezuka stood beside him and looked at the gorgeous view. Everguard was such a beautiful city. Houses sprouted left and right and the river that ran through made nights look even gorgeous. The river was derived from of the few Healing Spring's so the water was a very bright, clear but calm blue. It gave off such a radiant sacred light.

"Son, I've been sent to Venshard." His father finally said. Tezuka continued looking at the river. "I leave tomorrow. It'll take 4 days and 3 nights to arrive there. I will be gone for a while." Tezuka then looked up at the stars above them. "I want you to take the throne in my absence." Tezuka turned to look at his father.

He wasn't sure where to begin. "Father, what if I can't fulfill your duty?" he asked worried. It's not that he wasn't sure he couldn't, he was afraid that he would make the wrong choices.

"Son, I've taught you everything I know. If worse comes to worst you have the men of Everguard under your wing." His father said finally facing his son. "I know you can do it. You are more than ready. The throne should have been given to you at 14 but your mother insisted that I wait but times are hard this time and I need you to fulfill my place."

Tezuka nodded. "I will fulfill it then, father."

Tanis waited in the great hall rather than the guest's hall like always and looked around still astounded at the enormity of the castle and the vast space it had. It was such a privilege always to walk through those marble doors and wander through the castle. The castle had high ceilings with large pillars snaking their way up, it was amazing. "Tanis." He heard behind him. He turned around and faced Tezuka. "Always a daring explorer aren't you?" Tezuka said with his arms crossed over his chest. Tanis smiled and began walking with Tezuka.

"Did you get in trouble or what?" Tanis asked. Tezuka looked at Tanis knowing that he was too good to get in trouble, nonetheless caught by his parents. Maybe get caught by a royal guard but not his parent's. "Kidding." Tanis waved off and followed Tezuka to the courtyard which was just as massive. Tanis smiled again. "Already trying to settle a score huh?" he said placing his hands at his hips by his daggers.

"In return," Tezuka said taking off his cape that his mother had given him a while back. It was his favorite one so far. He unsheathed Ravenspeak, already getting used to the weight of it. He pointed it at Tanis, "Abandon your bow and arrows." He said motioning to them on Tanis' back.

Tanis clicked his tongue out of aggravation. "Really?" He said actually surprised at the request. "That's stripping away my pride." He whined.

Tezuka arched his eyebrow at Tanis and tilted his head to look at his daggers. "That's more than enough." He motioned at them.

Tanis sighed as he removed his Longbow and held his arrows in the other hand. "How else must you progress in your training, my lord?" He asked mockingly. Tezuka gripped the Ravenspeak and glared at Tanis. Tanis smirked and turned around. Tezuka braced himself; he knew he wasn't going to take that request lightly. He was right though, he was stripping him of his pride.

Tanis readied an arrow with his back to Tezuka and then pointed it at him. The many times he's seen Tanis in that stance he couldn't help but marvel in amazement. His stance was simply perfect and it was so deceiving to think that this boy of 19 couldn't fight because by god his body was lean but yet taut but hard to tell that he was great at what he did. His agility and knack for motion was beyond Tezuka's level, he envied it.

Tanis let go of the arrow and Tezuka fell to the ground. Tanis looked over at Tezuka concerned and tried very hard not to smile at his victory. Surely if he did walk away victorious he was bound to end up in the dungeon for murdering the lord and soon-to-be King of Gether. If he was lucky he stuck with years or perhaps forever in caged in the dungeon, but if he wasn't, he was to be hanged in front of the whole city, including his parents.

Fear and anxiety ran through him as he stepped closer to the unmoving body, his lips forming a thin line as they pressed together. He got closer and cursed under his breath and took out another arrow and looked around the courtyard. "Real funny, Tezuka. Using an illusion spell huh? Who taught you that one?" Tanis readied the arrow and closed his eyes tuning his ears to the noises around him. Even the slightest noise would be able to give him away..

"Should've seen your face." Tanis heard right behind him. He instantly turned around and fired only to have the arrow puncture through the bark of a tree. He cursed again.

He heard footsteps making their way towards him and figured he would be too slow in drawing another arrow. Tanis took out his daggers and spun around to stop the black sword from coming down his back with an X block. He grunted against the strength that Tezuka put into the sword.

It was the first time he had seen Tanis without a smile and his eyes were vicious, the look of a perfect warrior, the look of a perfect killer. Tezuka hooked his foot behind Tanis and shoved him down onto the ground. Tanis fell back and quickly attempted to get on his feet. Tezuka swung left and Tanis blocked it. He swung right and Tanis deflected it right back. Tanis indeed had a great amount of fighting spirit in him and he liked that.

Tanis tripped the young lord causing the Ravenspeak to fly out of his hands. Tezuka looked over to where it was and looked back at Tanis. He was standing over him and plunged a dagger at the side of his head on the ground causing Tezuka to look at the dagger so close to his face in shock. "Any last words, my lord?" Tezuka smiled. "Guess not." Tanis lifted the dagger over his head and put all his strength into it only to plunge it into the ground again. He turned around and saw that he had slipped through his legs in a blink of an eye. But how?

Tanis laughed. "All this magic has to go Tezuka. Sure you know when to use it but damn do you suck at it." Tanis dug out his daggers from the ground and lifted his hands up. The way he knew how to use them and the way he held them was also something Tezuka envied. They were held upside down like a lot of assassins held them. The end in his fists and the blades shadowing over his forearms, he was truly a true fighter.

"Really? I think I'm good at it." Tezuka said not a hint of sarcasm. Tanis glared at Tezuka and lunged forward with his dagger stopping short to spin with his left trying to cut Tezuka's stomach, Tezuka blocked it and immediately Tanis spun right at such a fast pace that Tezuka didn't even see it coming. As a reflex he put up his forearm up as a shield and dagger cut him. It wasn't deep; it was a flesh wound really. It only stung. Then Tanis turned one more time and landed his heel against Tezuka's jaw roughly. It had already made contact with his face but he grabbed Tanis' foot before it touched the ground and pulled him forward to punch him in the jaw back.

They both stumbled back and held their jaws. Huffing and smiling. One more hit and one of them would have the privilege to be with Fuji tonight. "I will definitely…," Tanis said panting. "Take him from you." He finished. Tezuka smiled and grabbed the Ravenspeak pointing at Tanis knowing it would provoke the older teen. Tanis threw a dagger and at him lunged forward.

Fuji made his way to the Noble quarter and sighed. He knew he was going to have problems once he got there. The guards were already staring at him like he was crazy and they were only city guards. A merchant wasn't to enter the noble quarter, obviously only someone with the rank. He didn't have rank, he had no nobility, no noble invitation. He wasn't even summoned. But in a way, he guessed he was. He had placed the Longbow on his back and proudly wore it with the arrows protruding from it as well. Tezuka was such a kind lord.

He was the kind of lord every city folk dreamed of. He was just like his father who was just as kind as he was. He remembered seeing the king once in his shop and he did the same he had done to Tezuka today, greeted him with such respect and honor. The king even laughed just like Tezuka did and told him he didn't have to greet him that way. They were truly like father like son. Everguard was proud of their leaders and to have soldiers from Venshard threat them were a bump to their happy indulged lives.

"There's naught for you here merchant, turn back around." The royal guard said at the entrance of the Noble quarter.

Fuji looked at the tough looking man with a red beard and a knight helmet. "I-I was told to come here by Lord Tezuka." Was he running late or did he simply forget?

The royal guard only laughed and the other one on the other side of the entrance followed suit, he had a weird laugh. "What does the lord have business with a merchant such as yourself, pitiless traveler." The royal guard spat out in disgust. Fuji had heard worse. Royal men and noblemen like him were the kind he despised; they were cold and had no heart. He worked hard to make a living; he worked hard to keep his family from suffering from poverty.

He knew if he lashed back with a smart response that the guards would find some way to punish him behind the king's back. These were the kind of royal guards that the slum boys often spoke about, they would throw moldy bread at them like they were rats and then step on it and laugh at their saddened faces. He hated them. "All you peddlers are nothing but whores to other cities money." The other laughed out.

Fuji began to open his mouth. "Akaya, Crom," Fuji looked at Tezuka who was walking down toward the entrance. "Hm, I'll deal with you tomorrow." They stopped laughing and froze at the sound of Tezuka's voice.

"Sir!" They both said in unison suddenly standing up straight.

Tezuka walked over to Fuji and placed an arm around his shoulder. "I want you two to apologize to Fuji." Tezuka said in a commanding voice.

"Yes sir!" They both said. "Please forgive us Sir Fuji!" They both bowed down. Tezuka turned to Fuji and winked. Fuji's face reddened and then smiled.

"Tanis couldn't make it. He had other things to tend to." Tezuka explained. Fuji nodded. "Come on. I want to show you something." Tezuka said letting go of Fuji and awkwardly passing by the two guards who still stood bowing down. He wanted to laugh so badly.

Tezuka led them past the noble houses and Fuji stared at them in awe. They were beautiful. They were nothing compared to the houses in the merchant district. These houses were at least three to four floors high and only one family lived in it. The houses were made out of pure stone and marble yet the merchant houses were made of only simple carved wood and iron. Tezuka glanced over at Fuji as he took in his surroundings. Such joy filled those blue orbs of his. He couldn't believe that someone like him had been taken in by the Hunter's Noble Family. Tanis had watched him grow up and knew him like a book, something about that had seemed to rub him the wrong way.

"This way." Tezuka said motioning him to a bigger house, no, it was the Castle. Fuji looked up at the large castle, his mouth wide open and his eyes taking in at how large the manse was. Everguard Manse, the castle in which the king lived, in which Tezuka lived. Suddenly he felt the big difference between him and the young Lord.

Meanwhile….

Tanis lay on the courtyard and took in deep labored breaths. 'Damn that spoiled brat.' He thought as he brought an arm over to his eyes covering them, hiding his shame to the world and hiding his embarrassment. His mentor, Brant would have mocked him, made fun of him for losing to a boy three years younger than him. He had given it all he could but the young lord prevailed. 'I'll rip his throat if he ever so harms a single hair on Fuji.'

The grass was illuminated by such bright blue magical light. The current of the water seemed so out of this world. He'd heard of a river that ran through Everguard that granted amazing powers such as heal those who were injured but he never knew through where it passed by since there were two rivers that ran through Everguard. He sat by the river and looked at it in such wonder, he was afraid to touch it. Afraid that if he did he'd only taint it.

Tezuka sat next to him and smiled as he saw how happy Fuji was and how he had found it enjoyable to stare at those lips curving up to form a smile of amazement. "This river comes from a Healing spring about a mile away from Everguard, just outside the Fireflaire forest." Tezuka explained. Fuji turned to face Tezuka in awe and then back at the river. He'd heard of the Fireflaire forest before. His father and Tanis' father had gone there once on a journey to find a rare stone that could only be found once every 15 years. It was said that the stone could be forged into any steel or iron and once it was formed with the right material it would become the strongest weapon to have ever been held by the corps of Everguard. "Many mages and sorcerers come and go to the Healing Spring to take as much as they can from it so they have sufficient sources in cases of an emergency." Fuji smiled at the river. He just couldn't take his eyes off of it. It was beyond him.

Tezuka leaned forward and got a little closer to Fuji and whispered, "Want to give it a try?" He asked. Fuji turned to him and frowned. One had to be injured it order to test the Healing Springs true abilities.

Fuji nodded and wondered if Tezuka wanted him to cut him with one of the arrow's head's. Tezuka began removing his green tunic and took off the long sleeved shirt underneath it. Fuji looked away and stole glances at Tezuka's muscles. He had a very muscular chest and muscular arms as well. He knew the young lord would have them but it caught him off guard.

Fuji turned to look at Tezuka once again and unconsciously ran his fingers over the fresh cuts that painted themselves over his fine tanned body. "What happened?" He found himself asking, he could tell that whoever did them were amazingly quick with their hands but at the same time cautious. A few cuts were deep and a few weren't. The deep ones seems accidental. Tezuka hissed in pain as he lightly pressed against a cut that had begun to bruise and immediately removed his hand. "I'm sorry."

Tezuka shook his head. "It's fine. I got them during training." He said excluding the part that he got them from training with Tanis. Fuji took out a cloth from his back pocket. It was a torn piece from what seemed like an absorbent rag.

Without thinking twice Fuji dipped it into the magical blue water and didn't bother rinsing it. He brought the wet cloth over his right shoulder, some drops creating wet streaks down his arm and squeezed it lightly over the wound. At first nothing happened but then Tezuka hissed in pain again and the deep cut began closing up. Fuji stared it, amazed. And after a while so did Tezuka. "Too bad it hurts at first." Tezuka let out. Fuji chuckled and dipped the cloth again, he stood up and moved over to Tezuka's other arm and poured the blue water, this time ignoring the hissing followed by Tezuka and stared at the wound close up. He ran his hand over it and realized ever the bruises were gone. It was truly amazing.

Fuji stood up again and dipped the cloth one last time, bringing it over Tezuka's broad chest. Fuji ran his fingers over the long cut that displayed itself against the muscular chest. Tezuka only stared at Fuji as he tended him, enjoying the way Fuji smiled each time the wound closed as if accomplishing something. This time his slim fingers were running down his chest and he couldn't help but have a growing desire to grab the thin boy who was the same age as him and kiss him. So that's what he did.

Before Fuji could squeeze the cloth over the wound he felt fingers underneath his chin and he looked up. Tezuka was inches away from him and he froze. So many things went through his mind. Like, the fact that the young lord was about to do something foolish, like, what if he didn't like the way he kissed him, like, what if he was just teasing him or what if he became disgusted to have kissed a mere merchant. All those things ran through Fuji's mind in a heartbeat and their lips met.

Tezuka's big hand lay behind Fuji's head and the other hooked around Fuji's thin waist, lifting him up and placing him onto of him. Fuji squeezed the cloth accidentally and Tezuka turned away hissing at the slight pain. Why did it have to hurt?

Fuji blushed as he realized what he had done, what they had just done and instantly apologized. "I'm sorry lord Tezuka." Tezuka turned to him with a smile and shook his head. He got closer to Fuji and Fuji laid his back down on the grass as Tezuka hovered over him, placing a knee in between Fuji's legs and placed his lips against Fuji's again.

He couldn't help but melt underneath the cool and rough lips of the young lord, his heart was racing so fast. Tezuka broke away and smiled. "Kunimitsu," He whispered. "Call me Kunimitsu." Fuji nodded face burning hot in embarrassment with half closed eyes and closed them once Tezuka pressed his lips against his again. That night, was filled with such ecstasy and pleasure that he was sure he wasn't going to find anywhere else. With his arms around Tezuka he wished to the heavens that Tezuka wouldn't forget him. Fuji experienced what felt like love and he couldn't believe where he had found it.

The next day, Fuji laid his forehead on the counter. He was mortified, he was embarrassed, and his face was completely crimson red. "I should just kill myself." He muttered holding a dagger. His mind kept replaying the scenes from last night and each time he did, he froze in place. He had slept with the young lord who was fit for a gorgeous wife not a merchant. He still felt Tezuka's lips on his, his gentle and sweet touch, his sweet scent and the way he had pleased him. He wanted to die.

"Come on Fuji! The king has an announcement to make!" Yuuta said rushing into the store and exiting. Fuji sluggishly stepped out and then picked up his pace to the main street of Everguard.

"Today the town's folk of Everguard shall witness a great mark in the history of our kingdom!" The king shouted. He was standing on what seemed to be wooden pallets that formed some kind of stage. "We have all heard of the rumors of Venshard." The king paused and stared at the audience. "Well today I'm putting an end to all the rumors. I will head to Venshard and I will tell the Nobles of the Regions what a fine land I serve and what finer folk to tend to it! I will tell the Nobles and Kings of the Regions that Everguard is filled with people who take pride to its kingdom, who take pride in their work and who take pride in their lives. I will void this great land of any preposterous threats as long as I know that the people of Everguard are safe!" The king shouted. Many men and women cheered him on. Fuji smiled as he looked at the joyful faces of many of those who lived here with such happiness, him included.

"Today," The king said lowering his voice to gentle tone. "Today I'd like to pass the throne to someone who will become your new leader in my absence, someone who will watch Everguard with the same kindness I have watched over you all. Today, I, Kuniharu Tezuka, claim my son, Kunimitsu Tezuka, your new leader and your new King." The king finally said and motioned toward Tezuka as he walked up to his father.

Tezuka stood up straight and placed a fist over his chest and got down on one knee not looking up at his father, he smiled to himself and remembered just how much he hated it when Fuji had done the same to him with such honor and respect. He was sure even his father hated it but it had to be done. "I, Kunimitsu Tezuka, will fulfill my duty to serve the Land of Gether, I will serve the people of Everguard and I will fulfill my duty to graciously accept the throne. I shall seek protection over this land and its people"

The king's loyal servant handed the king a long sword and tapped it on Tezuka's right shoulder and then the left. He turned to the audience and raised the sword in the air above him. "From this day forth you shall be The King of Everguard." The king said loud enough for everyone to hear. Everyone in the audience cheered and some shook their head disapprovingly.

Whispers passed here and there, "How can a boy take the throne?" Fuji heard someone say. "He's just a kid, he can't protect us." He heard someone else. Then Fuji heard a few say, "We need a young leader, someone who can take risks to keep this land safe." Fuji smiled and silently agreed.

Tezuka stood up and faced the crowd as the new King of Everguard.

Fuji heard the door to his shop and he began to welcome the costumer only to stop short. "King…Tezuka." Tezuka looked around and then looked at Fuji assuming that they were alone. Fuji slightly blushed. "Congratulations." Fuji bowed at him placing a fist over his chest for respect and Tezuka walked over to him. The sound of the Ravenspeak sword and his newly acquired chainmail creating noise as he walked took Fuji by surprise and gasped as Tezuka had claimed his lips again. Fuji instantly let himself go and kissed back. He kept his ears open for any sounds in case someone were to come in and when he heard none he wrapped his arms around Tezuka's neck and chuckled when he found it difficult to with his chest guard on that extended to one side of his neck for protection. They kissed for what seemed like minutes but had actually been seconds. "I'm forming a group of people to help me and the Nobles fix up the slums." Tezuka whispered against Fuji's lips. Fuji licked his wet lips and leaned back to look at Tezuka better. "I want you to be part of it." Fuji was sure that Tanis had put him up to it and vowed to punish him later.

"I-I couldn't. What about my shop?" Fuji asked worried, sliding his hands down the chainmail. It felt oddly soothing under his hands.

Tezuka smiled at the gesture. "I was thinking maybe you'd like to live in the Noble quarter and set up another shop there." Tezuka said looking into Fuji's eyes. Fuji was at a loss for words. "Your family could live in the Noble quarter and work in the merchant district. I've heard your younger brother has decided to set an apothecary with that girl as well, it would be great if he could also set up a shop at noble quart-Mnnn" Fuji lunged himself at him and kissed him passionately.

Fuji pulled away and nodded. "I'd be more than glad to." Fuji said trying not to cry. How he had managed to come across such guy, more like King, he didn't know. He must have had a crazy amount of luck or Tezuka truly cared for him.

Tezuka held his hand and gave it a squeeze. "Somehow, it'll work out." Tezuka said. Tanis opened the shop's door and sighed. Fuji pulled his hand away from Tezuka but Tezuka held it firmly.

"You lovebirds going to stay in here forever or are you going to start a business?" Tanis said mockingly with a smile. Fuji turned red and Tanis smiled. 'As long as he's happy, I'm happy.' He thought.

Kunimitsu now ruled all of Gether and Everguard, he took pride in the city and land he promised to protect and he took pride at the one person who had changed his life completely. Fuji had changed the slums with the help with a few nobles and begun to tend to them daily if not, he'd be at his shop. The slums no longer looked like the slums and everyone, including the thieves and slum gangs began looking up to the new King. Fuji smiled at Tezuka as they both stole each a glance as he walked through the Noble quarter. He was the gem in his life.

A/N: I hope you enjoyed it just as much as I did in writing it. It is a little fast paced process but I tried.

I assure you I shall post a shorter story next time.

I thank you for the continuation in reading my stories :]

Comments and reviews are well appreciated.

Author Fun Fact II: Has never written Fantasy before.